Difference Wiki

Cree vs. Metis: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson & Janet White || Updated on May 22, 2024
Cree refers to a large indigenous group in Canada known for their distinct languages and cultures, while Metis describes a people of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry, with a unique cultural identity blending both heritages.

Key Differences

Cree people are one of the largest indigenous groups in Canada, with a distinct language and culture. They traditionally lived in areas spanning from Quebec to Alberta. Metis people, on the other hand, are descendants of Indigenous and European (mainly French and Scottish) ancestry. They have a unique culture that incorporates elements from both their Indigenous and European heritage.
The Cree historically engaged in activities like hunting, fishing, and trapping, living in areas that provided these resources. They have a deep spiritual connection to the land and its resources. Whereas, the Metis, emerging mainly in the 18th century, often lived in the Red River region and were involved in the fur trade, combining Indigenous knowledge with European trading practices.
The governance structures also differ; the Cree have traditional forms of governance tied to their bands and territories, recognized under Canadian law. The Metis, on the other hand, have their own representative organizations, like the Metis National Council, which advocate for their rights and recognition distinct from First Nations and Inuit groups.
Cree art and traditions are heavily influenced by their environment and way of life, with beadwork and birchbark canoes being notable examples. Metis culture features a blend of European and Indigenous traditions, seen in their music, dance (notably the Red River Jig), and the creation of the colorful Metis sash.

Comparison Chart


Mixed Indigenous and European


Cree (Algonquian language family)
Michif (blend of Cree and French)

Historical Activities

Hunting, fishing, trapping
Fur trade


Traditional band governance
Representative organizations (Metis National Council)

Cultural Expressions

Beadwork, birchbark canoes
Music, dance (Red River Jig), Metis sash

Cree and Metis Definitions


The language spoken by the Cree people.
She is learning to speak Cree from her grandmother.


A group of people of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry.
The Metis have a unique culture distinct from other Indigenous groups.


Pertaining to the Cree people or their language.
The Cree language has several dialects.


A language that blends Cree and French elements.
Michif, the Metis language, is spoken by some communities.


An Indigenous people in Canada.
The Cree have a rich cultural history and language.


A member of the Metis nation.
She is a proud Metis woman, deeply connected to her heritage.


A member of the Cree nation.
He identifies as Cree and is proud of his heritage.


Pertaining to the Metis people.
Metis music and dance are vibrant parts of their culture.


The culture and traditions of the Cree people.
The festival celebrated Cree traditions through dance and music.


The satellite of Jupiter that is closest to the planet.


A member of a Native American people inhabiting a large area from eastern Canada west to Alberta and the Great Slave Lake. Formerly located in central Canada, the Cree expanded westward and eastward in the 17th and 18th centuries, the western Cree adopting the Plains Indian life and the eastern Cree retaining their woodland culture.


A person of mixed racial ancestry.


The Algonquian language of the Cree.


Often Métis A person of mixed Native American and French Canadian ancestry.


A member of an Algonquian people living in central Canada


A person of mixed-race ancestry.


The Algonquian language spoken by the Cree people


(US) A person of one-eighth black ancestry; an octoroon.


(knowledge management) Practical intelligence; street smarts.


Of mixed heritage


Of Métis heritage.


The offspring of a white person and an American Indian.


The offspring of a white person and a quadroon; an octoroon.


A half-breed of white and Indian parentage


The distinct culture of the Metis people.
The Metis sash is an important cultural symbol.


Who are the Cree?

The Cree are one of the largest indigenous groups in Canada, with distinct languages and cultures.

What activities did the Cree historically engage in?

The Cree historically engaged in hunting, fishing, and trapping.

What is the Metis heritage?

Metis heritage is a blend of Indigenous and European (mainly French and Scottish) ancestry.

Where do the Cree traditionally live?

Cree people traditionally lived in areas spanning from Quebec to Alberta.

How is Cree governance structured?

Cree governance is based on traditional band structures recognized under Canadian law.

What are Cree cultural expressions?

Cree cultural expressions include beadwork and birchbark canoes.

What is the significance of the Metis sash?

The Metis sash is a colorful garment that represents Metis cultural identity.

Do the Cree speak one language?

The Cree language has various dialects.

Are Metis considered a distinct Indigenous group?

Yes, the Metis are recognized as a distinct Indigenous group in Canada.

What is Michif?

Michif is the language of the Metis, blending Cree and French.

What is the Metis National Council?

The Metis National Council is an organization representing Metis interests and rights.

What is the Red River Jig?

The Red River Jig is a traditional Metis dance.

Are the Cree and Metis languages the same?

No, the Cree language is distinct from Michif, the Metis language.

How do the Metis differ from other Indigenous groups?

The Metis differ due to their mixed ancestry and unique cultural practices.

What is a Cree band's structure?

A Cree band's structure includes traditional leadership roles recognized by the community.

What role did the Metis play in the fur trade?

The Metis were heavily involved in the fur trade, combining Indigenous and European practices.

How do the Cree connect to their land?

The Cree have a deep spiritual connection to the land and its resources.

What is a notable Cree tradition?

A notable Cree tradition is their beadwork, which is intricate and culturally significant.

How do Metis celebrate their culture?

Metis celebrate their culture through music, dance, and festivals.

What historical events are significant to the Metis?

Significant events include the Red River Rebellion and the formation of the Metis Nation.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Co-written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons